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MLK's Dream Must Be Watered . . .

. . . Or It Could Wither and Die

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary on Republicans and Martin Luther King Jr. and the Trumpet AwardsMy wife and I spent this past weekend in Atlanta, Georgia attending the Trumpet Awards. The Trumpet Awards is an annual event saluting African American Achievement. The event was created in 1993 by Dr. King's longtime associate, Xernona Clayton. Ms. Clayton, who worked closely with Dr. King at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, became the first African American person to host her own television show in the south, in 1969.

Guests of Ms. Clayton get to participate in and play a small part in the Trumpet Award's weekend of events. The events included the induction of Civil Rights' giants into the Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. King served as pastor during the height of the Civil Rights struggles of the sixties and seventies. Our son, Dr. Jamal Hopkins, delivered the invocation at the induction ceremony a couple years ago. This year, I participated in the program as a Ribonier to one of the inductees.

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Thoughts for 2012

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary on 2012One year ago I started this forecast with a review of a message preached by my youngest son, Dr. Jamal Hopkins, for Christmas 2010. He brought the message at Pasadena's Scott United Methodist Church where Pastor James Stephens is the senior Pastor. This year we were blessed to have him invited to Altadena's Metropolitan Baptist Church where Pastor Tyrone Skinner is the senior Pastor. The 2011 message was from the book of Jeremiah. He spoke about the people of Israel being captive in a strange land.

The message seemed particularly appropriate for African Americans today, even though our ancestors arrived here under less than ideal circumstances nearly four hundred years ago, we still find ourselves in a strange land where we are still treated as "less than."

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Racism Takes No Holiday

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Racism takes no holiday"It's not fair that African Americans get to have an African American History Month and the White people don't"! And, "it's not fair that there are Black colleges for the African Americans." These were the comments made to my 15 year old granddaughter (I'll call her, "Miss E.") by a White classmate. She shared her classmate's comments at our family Thanksgiving dinner last week. I told her to ignore those statements, but later I thought about it and realized that it needed to be dealt with. At least my granddaughter needs to be prepared for the price of being Black, Brilliant and Beautiful, and she is all three.

Well Miss E., we have an African American Heritage Month because Blacks have contributed so much to the American story of progress for which we have never been paid nor have we gotten credit for. African American Heritage Month was created to fill in the gap left by American History which is taught in America. It was created by a Black professor named Carter G. Woodson and originated as Black History Week. Born in 1926, as a project of the Association for the Study of Negro Life, it was later expanded to Black History Month in the 1960's and the Month of February was selected. (Notice that this is the shortest month in the year.)

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Why Black Men Must March!

To Help Get the School Board Back on Track

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Why black men must marchA few months ago I called my granddaughter who was graduating from high school in North Carolina where her mother moved to after two years at Pasadena's Marshall High School. I had just read the February issue of Time magazine and wanted to share it with her. The lead article was called "REVOLUTION" and discussed what it means for the Middle East. I advised her to buy the magazine and read what was happening in Egypt and the Middle Eastern countries and how they were changing, and then think about how their movement will affect America, if at all.

I can't remember our whole conversation but I told her that this was reminiscent of the 60's in America and in Africa. In the 60's there was a revolution in America where African Americans said, in effect, that they were not going to take being treated as second class citizens any more, and they engaged in a great revolution commonly called "The Civil Rights Movement."

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A Call to Action for Black Men

To Help Get the School Board Back on Track

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - A call to action for black menSome years ago, the Journal called for a one hundred man march to the Pasadena Unified School Board meeting. The purpose was to support the School Board members, Elbie Hickambottom and Dr. Jackie Jacobs in their fight to secure equality of opportunity for African American students. Elbie has gone on but has left a legacy of fighting for the rights of all students. Dr. Jacobs continues the struggle in her own way by serving as Vice President at Pasadena City College. However, the struggle for equality of opportunity for black students continues.

Currently, the School Board has only one African American Board member, Renatta Cooper, and a number of detractors who seem to have forgotten that the District is there to serve all students equally. Recent events surrounding Muir High School Coach Ken Howard, open disrespect for the Black Board member, and treatment of certain unnamed Black students serve as a reminder that if the powers that be don't hear and see evidence that someone is watching them, we can return to a time when the needs of Black students, staff and the Black community can be pushed aside.

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